First US manned space flight, 1961
First US manned space flight, 1961. Redstone rocket launching the Freedom 7 capsule into space on 5th May 1961. This mission (Mercury-Redstone 3) launched Alan Shepherd into space as part of the Mercury program, making him the first US astronaut to travel into space, and the second person worldwide after Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin - who had made his flight in April of that year. Shepherd's flight lasted less than 16 minutes, reaching a height of 187 kilometres. Unlike Gagarin, Shepherd did not orbit the Earth. Photographed on 5th May 1961, at Launch Complex 5 (LC-5), Cape Canaveral, Florida, USA.
© NASA/VRS/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Apollo spacecraft at the Moon, artwork
Apollo spacecraft at the Moon. Artwork of the Apollo Lunar Module (LM, left, gold) and the Apollo Command/Service Module (CSM, right, grey) at the Moon, with the Earth in the background. Each Apollo mission was crewed by three astronauts, sitting in the Command Module (CM, conical section of the CSM). The Service Module (SM) section contained fuel and batteries. Once at the Moon, two astronauts used the LM to descend to the Moon and return to the CSM, which was piloted by the third astronaut. The CM was then used to re-enter the Earth's atmosphere, with the other sections being jettisoned.
© RICHARD BIZLEY/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Overall view and cut-away of the Ariane 5 launcher
Ariane 5. Artwork showing an overall view (left) and cut-away view (right) of the European Ariane 5 launcher. Ariane 5 consists of a large first stage (lower 2/3rds of the central vehicle) flanked by two solid rocket boosters, with a smaller second stage (top 1/3rd). Most of the first stage is taken up by the vast liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen tanks, which feed the single Vulcain motor at bottom. The second stage is powered by a DASA engine powered by storable propellants (dinitrogen tetroxide and monomethyl hydrazine). The payload depicted here is the Cluster mission with its four identical spacecraft. The first Ariane 5 mission, carrying Cluster, is due for launch in mid-1996.
© DAVID DUCROS/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY